Jay B Gaskill
Marxism is a repellant caricature of Judeo-Christian ethics[i], the brutal substitution of faux material equality and collective political justice for equality before God and individuated personal justice. It is as if some ballet impresario trotted out Frankenstein’s monster on stage, miming the dance with crude mechanical movements, deprived of all grace, beauty and spirit.
The temptation to achieve via the levers of political power that which we are called to do in our individual personal relationships[ii] is the ultimate Faustian bargain, as the hell-on-earth reigns of Communist socialism and National Socialism appallingly demonstrated.
The Nazi movement was a reactive form of nationalist socialism, erupting in opposition to the internationalist communist template. In place of the “scientific socialism” of Marx and Engels the Nazis produced “scientific” eugenics, infused with triumphalist racist mythology.[iii] Marxism and its nemesis, National Socialism, were twins separated at birth. Neither represented authentic science, but both were dedicated to remaking the human race, using faux scientific means, one though economic leveling, one through “purity” leveling. Both movements trumpeted “social justice”, by which was meant the socialist justice of the Party.
At the end of freedom, it matters little whether power was seized in a sudden stroke or acquired at the end of a chronic withering disease. Rulers may achieve dominance via the blitzkrieg, the putsch, the coup or the revolution, or they may creep into power though the stealthy consolidation of political and bureaucratic control: all these means lead to the same sorry outcome[vi]. When freedom is suffocated, the death of its supporters follows.
Beware the authoritarian-Lite - it is darkness in disguise. As Abraham Clark, one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence put it, “Freedom or a halter.”[vii]
Copyright © 2011 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law
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[i] One common thread in these two great religious traditions is that all individuals are equally accountable to the Creator notwithstanding rank, position or wealth. While individual religious sub-communities may volunteer in communal sharing of resources (thinking of the rules of certain monastic groups) these religious traditions have not called for or even approved the large scale forcible expropriation and redistribution of property among society at large. Indeed, the Decalogue condemns envy and disapproves the coveting of the property of others.
[ii] The injunction to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is shared in both traditions. Note that this expresses an ideal nuanced, individual relationship, not a bureaucratic collectivist one.
[iii] The later mutations of Nazi eugenics have taken several contemporary forms, including the preferential female abortions in China, the racially weighted abortions in the USA, actually credited by some defenders with “reducing the inner city crime rate”, and in form of the “let’s thin out the human overpopulation” elements of the of a growing cohort environmentalist activists- some of whom are willing to use violent means. An enduring lesson: Malignant ideas never die out, they just return in mutated forms.
[iv] Progressivism needs to be distinguished from ordinary liberalism in that it contemplates (as did the British Fabian Socialist movement) a gradual implementation of comprehensive egalitarian socialism (Marxism by another name) over several decades of time. This strategy of progressive gradualism was adopted on the grounds that a democratic society would never agree to the rapid implementation of comprehensive socialism, except in extremis. But the ultimate progressive goal was and remains the same as that of the revolutionary communists. While traditional liberals are willing to reserve permanent protected zones for free enterprise (in the “mixed economy” models), progressives regard this only as a temporary tactical pause in the inevitable march to enforced economic equality.
[v] Leveling is the enemy of creative achievement. Whatever the contrary protestations and early behaviors of authoritarian levelers may be, when they consolidate power, the creative men and women who are able always seek asylum elsewhere. The vitality of the US musical and artistic communities greatly benefitted from Nazi and Soviet émigré creative artists. Creative communities are the mine-canaries of all authoritarian leveling-regimes.
[vi] The consolidation of economic power under political control and management will always reach a tipping point after which the exercise of political freedom is sharply limited, and the realistic prospects of the recovery of all other lost freedoms, creative, entrepreneurial and personal, becomes remote.
[vii] “Our Declaration of Independence I dare say you have seen; a few weeks will probable determine our fate: perfect freedom or absolute slavery; to some of us, freedom or a halter. Our fates are in the hands of an Almighty God…”
Four Related Links:
Political liberalism is a Secular Religion (This essay has a circulation in the thousands.)
The Marx Virus Strikes (Read a single page example.)
When the Sleeping Giant Awakes (Populist rebellions tend not to end well, even for the common people.)
Creativity & Survival, Building a World Renaissance Using the American Model
(Renaissance minds of the world unite. The only thing you have to lose is your pessimism, your ambivalence and the future of civilization. 17 pages)